ADD TOGETHER ONE DEADRISE CHANGE, TWO STRAKE eliminations, one keel addition and one keel sub traction, two chine widenings, and a three inch hull deepening. Mix in three dozen sea trials, add a dash of tank tests with a five foot scale model. Bake for one year. The end result? Cabo's new 47 Convertible is so hot, you'll need oven mitts to handle it.
How did Cabo create a new boat that seemed as if it had been tweaked and fiddled with for 10 years? By performing some heavy duty research and development. Before bringing the 47 to market, Cabo spent more than a year testing and retesting different aspects of the hull design and weight distribution. First, the company designed and constructed a rough model. Then it mounted 55 gallon drums in the cockpit and on the foredeck. It installed a massive through hull intake to a pump and plumbed it to the barrels. That allowed the builder to
change the boat's weight distribution and its displacement from 37,000 to 52,000 pounds. Next, Cabo videotaped the boat running at different speeds, running angles, and weight distributions in a variety of sea conditions.
Does all this work show up in the final hull design? If you have the desire to blow a whole lot of time without accomplishing anything, just try to find a more solid feeling, smoother running 47 footer. Granted, we had a calm test day, with slow rolling, Widely spaced two footers lazing across the Pacific. But at wide open throttle, I expected to feel some motion. Nothin'. I tried to create my own seas by weaving the boat back and forth at 1500 rpm, then turning into the riled up water and firewalling the throttles. Still no dice. The 47 simply doesn't create a wake big enough to feel when you go back over it. That's a lot more informative than you might think it shows how efficient this hull design is. Not only does the Cabo squash little waves like a steamroller going over a cockroach, but it also doesn't create any big waves of its own. In fact, up on plane its wake looks as if it had been generated by a boat half its size, and it breaks away in a boat well aft, that indicates an efficient planning hull that's getting up and skimming the water instead of pushing it aside. Yet another trait you'd expect from a hull that's been through years of refinement.
This R&D recipe provided Cabo with the right mixture for its new 47 Convertible. But design doesn't mean much if execution isn't up to par. So Cabo set out to make its new boat as solid as any on the water. In doing so, it used all the best construction techniques: a hull to deck joint through bolted, sealed with 3M 5200 adhesive /sealant, then fiberglassed together; vacuum bagged, foam cored hullsides and decks; a solid glass bottom; vinylester resins in the hull; aircraft quality braided fuel lines; Corian countertops;
oversize hinges and latches; vibration dampening motor mounts; and hand assembled
Starboard plastic tackle center drawers. My lone nitpick is the use of spring struts
(which break easily and often) on the cabin's rodbox hatches.
Cabo came up with a few construction techniques of its own, too. Take a look at the salon sole and engine room overhead. They are one and the same, a single 2X" thick molded piece of foam cored fiberglass, tied into the engine room bulkhead, the cockpit, and the hullsides. It's fiberglassed, too, essentially joining them into one piece. With this structural system, supports become unnecessary for the salon sole. Usually these supports go through the engine room, where they get in the way of oil changes, fluid checks, and other routine maintenance. Not here. just as impressive is the wiring. If you've ever owned a boat with wiring that looked like spaghetti, you know how much fear and trepidation it can cause, well, the 47s wiring looks like spaghetti before it's been cooked ramrod straight with each strand easily separated and accessible. And have you ever seen a boat with no rough edges anywhere, including such unreachable places as up under the inwales in the engine room? Now you have; every inch of fiberglass is ground before the 47 is finished.
Hull design and construction being equal, every buyer of a convertible fishboat faces the same struggle: fishing versus living space. Do you want another two feet of cockpit, or will your better half demand that the salon have a six seat settee? Not willing to settle? The Cabo has a 156square foot cockpit. That's more fishing space than most boats in the next class. A Viking 55 has 153 square feet in its cockpit. Davis' 58 gets you 144 square feet.
A 55 Rybovich tops the list at 156 square feet just even with the Cabo, although the Rybovich has five more feet LOA.
What about more direct competitors? Look at Viking's 47 Convertible ($860,000 with the 800 hp MANs) and the difference is even larger. The Viking has a 135 square foot cockpit, a 21 square foot difference. Why? Let's just say the Cabo is about 13 percent more serious when it comes to fishing. Of course, to get that extra fishing room, you've got to give a little. In this case, though, you give very little.
Cabo makes up for some of the lost cabin space by adding a third berth to the second stateroom, carved out of a notch under the salon sole as a berth on a midcabin cruiser might be. Net loss? A couple of feet in the engine room forward of the iron horses, which I could still access, 360 degrees. Ahhhh, the sweet taste of victory for both sides.Of course, sheer cockpit space isn't the only factor to take into account when you're looking at a fishboat. What about fishboxes? The Cabo has two of them, each stretching the tape over five feet, with macerated pumpouts and insulation underneath. Our test boat also had an Eskimo icemaker plumbed directly to the fishbox (an $11,000 option). The way I figure it, after about 275 fishing trips the icemaker will have paid for itself, and you'll have saved your back from hauling 200 pounds of ice to the boat every trip. But the best feature of these boxes is the hatch system. The hatches are split and hinged in the middle, so you expose only half the box when sliding in a kicking longfin. That's a big advantage for those who like to stick the gaff and drop the fish into the box in one motion. With the whole box opened up, you'd lose five feet of deck space while working the fish in, not to mention the risk of falling into the open box. But with the split hatches, just swing up the forward half it's held open by stainless steel struts and work the fish from the aft half of the cockpit. Once the fish is in the box, shove the hatch back down. Don't worry about it slamming, because the entire hatch gutter is lined with a gasket. It's such a perfect fit that the only noise you'll hear as it closes is the whoosh of escaping air.
The 47s fishability is the best I've seen on a convertible of this size. Design and construction are virtually impossible to criticize. There's almost nothing left to fight about, except what speed you'll be trolling at.
Awesome! The most fishable 47' convertible in the world